About this Item
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Title: The Man in the Mirror: A Life of Benedict ...
Publisher: Random House, Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 1994
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition.
About this title
Shows how the personal insecurities and longings for material wealth of the brilliant military leader undermined his superior qualities and how his transgressions eventually caught up with him. 12,500 first printing. $15,000 ad/promo. Tour.From Kirkus Reviews:
A biography that explains coherently--despite its rather thick layer of pop psych--why Benedict Arnold became the American Revolution's Lucifer, the brightest angel who suffered the steepest fall from grace. Colonial historian Brandt (An American Aristocracy, 1986) locates the seed of Arnold's treason in ``the great American virus: social insecurity.'' In his teens, Arnold was forced to leave an elite private academy because of his alcoholic father's bankruptcy. Brandt's prose can rise to an almost hysterically portentous pitch (Arnold ``teetered on the brink of an inner abyss that had been gouged in his soul by the earthquake that had struck''), but despite a lack of subtlety in characterization, her thesis enables her to identify ambition as the connecting thread between Arnold as energetic, intelligent, and courageous soldier and Arnold as greedy traitor. Notoriously touchy about the most dimly perceived slights, Arnold could take no solace in his reputation as the best American battlefield general of the war. Lacking a moral compass, he saw money and social prestige as his surest validations of character- -and, when these were lacking, he alienated potential allies with petulant outbursts. His downfall began when, as military commandant of Philadelphia, he mixed with well-heeled Loyalists (including his future wife, the beautiful Peggy Shippen) and engaged in war profiteering. Brandt takes us through the familiar events that followed: Arnold's court-martial for financial malfeasance, his bungled attempt to hand over West Point to the British, and his final years as a financially insecure social leper in Canada and England. Despite Arnold's ``mighty heart,'' he was brought down by self-delusion and a reckless unconcern for any but himself (he sealed Major John Andre's doom by needlessly sending him behind Continental lines disguised as a civilian). Piercing insights into one of our most infamous figures, though no match for Willard Sterne Randall's superb Benedict Arnold (1990). (Maps and b&w illustrations--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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